It's easy to get bent out of shape with this fabulous and early Steiff squirrel. She is 17 cm tall, standing, and made from mohair. Her belly is (was) white and the rest of her body is reddish-brown. Her tail is made from longer reddish-brown mohair. Her face is detailed with felt backed black shoe button eyes and a simple brown hand embroidered nose and mouth. Her claws are embroidered in the same brown floss. Most interestingly, she is fully jointed - meaning six ways! Her head, arms, leg, and TAIL are are flexible and posable. This is different than a tail-moves-head mechanism, where the tail and head are connected mechanically and adjusting the tail turns the head left and right. Very few Steiff items are actually six ways jointed; this is usually seen on higher-end early dogs and cats. It is very cool to feel the specific cardboard ring jointing mechanism at the base of this squirrel's tail, it feels just like Steiff's arm and leg joints, just in a very different location!
Squirrels are as ubiquitous in the Steiff offering as they are in the park across the street from Steiffgal's home! These funny, furry friends have been a part of the Steiff offering since 1897; the first one to appear was begging, unjointed, and made from brown felt. A few years later, this design was updated and made in velvet. The velvet squirrels were also repurposed as pincushions; a model with a basket on her back and a model on a leaf were produced in the 1902 through 1917 time frame. Starting in 1909, Steiff began producing squirrels in mohair; only a few new models appeared through 1942. Steiffgal's new old friend is the second generation version of Steiff's earliest mohair squirrel, with the key difference being the second generation was less angular and overall "plumper" than the first.
Steiff continued its spirited squirrel production after the factory reopened for business just after WWII. They continued producing their pre-war model for a few years, then updated it and named the new design Possy. Possy was begging, unjointed, and made from either brown and white or gray and white mohair. Possy appeared in the line from 1957 through 1976 and was manufactured in 10, 14, and 22 cm. Around the same time, Steiff created another beloved squirrel pattern inspired by a Walt Disney documentary entitled True Life Adventures. This film, released in 1957, "starred" a squirrel named Perri who faced many challenges and adventures. Perri was made from brown tipped mohair, had a great shaggy tail, and feet and hands made out of thick felt. One of Perri's most distinctive features was his white felt backed eyes. Perri was made in 12, 17, and 22 cm from 1959 through 1983. The 17 and 22 cm versions came with a beautifully airbrushed velvet pine cone, about 2.5 cm long.
Steiffgal hopes this discussion on early Steiff squirrels has been more fun than a day in the park for you.
Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures? Let's talk! Click here to learn more.